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IN SHORT: More music please. [Rated . minutes]
Who Do You Love tells the story of the founding of Chess Record by brothers Leonard (Alessandro Nivola) and Phil (Jon Abrahams), without which there would be no thing called rock 'n roll. Two year ago, a movie called Cadillac Ranch essentially told this same story, more from the perspective of the musicians.
Junk is the family business for a Polish born immigrant named Leonard and his American born brother, Phil Chess. Leonard has developed a particular appreciation for Chicago blues music. Leonard also notices the amount of cash that crosses the bar in the haunts he hangs in. Bye bye family business and hello to a dump of a building revamped to become a club called the Macomba.
Who Do You Love tells the story of Leonard Chess , a Polish immigrant living in Chicago, who becomes enamored with the new blues sound emanating from the city in the mid-1940s. Chess and his brother Phil open a club called Macomba and gamble on producing “race records” with the help of bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon (Chi McBride). After initial failure, they find tremendous success with the iconic bluesman Muddy Waters, and on the strength of his popularity, started Chess Records. Chess Records quickly grew into an influential label, launching the careers of Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Chuck Berry, among others, and introducing the Blues to American audiences on a broader scale. Who Do You Love tracks the growth of Chess Records, but more importantly, presents a poignant look into the strains the label placed on Leonard Chess’ family, namely his wife Revetta (Marika Dominczyk) and and his son Marshall.
composite [addict and lover of Chess] Ivy Mills (Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke)
Bo Diddley (Robert Randolph), Jimmy Rogers (Kevin Moore aka Keb’ Mo’), Muddy Waters (David Oyelowo)
The film features hits from the Chess Records canon including Muddy Waters’ “Stuff You Gotta Watch,” Etta James’ “At Last,” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.”
Of the film, Marshall Chess says, “Who Do You Love is a great snapshot of the era in which the music that was to become the foundation of Rock & Roll was created. The music, the cars, the clothes, and the many amazing characters of my childhood are brought to life in this film, which also gives a taste of the many roads travelled by my family to make Chess Records one of the greatest record labels of all time.”
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Who Do You Love, he would have paid . . .
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